Former England and Manchester United midfielder David Beckham presented the men’s Ballon d’Or to Messi, but before announcing the winner he paid tribute to Sir Bobby Charlton.
The England World Cup winner died at the age of 86 earlier this month.
“I probably don’t have to tell this room how special Sir Bobby was to the world of football,” Beckham said.
“He was respected on the field for what he won but was respected even more off the field for what he stood for.
“He will be missed. When we looked up into the stands he would always be there cheering us on.
“He started it off for me. If it was not for Sir Bobby turning around to Manchester United and saying ‘watch this young man’ I probably would not have played for Manchester United.
“I owe him everything.”